Monday, 7 September 2009


The Prime Minister has been urged to clarify the UK Government’s position on the Scottish Justice Secretary’s decision to reject the Prisoner Transfer application and release Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi on compassionate grounds, after Children’s Secretary Ed Balls contradicted previous statements made by UK Ministers, including the Foreign Secretary.

SNP Westminster leader and Foreign Affairs spokesperson Angus Robertson MP called on Gordon Brown to clarify his position after Mr Balls – speaking on the BBC Today Programme – said: “none of us [the UK Government] wanted to see the release of Al-Megrahi.”

Mr Balls remarks conflict with previous statements by the Prime Minister who said that he ‘respects’ the Scottish Government’s decision, and the Today interview by the Foreign Secretary last Wednesday confirming the position communicated to the Libyans by Bill Rammell, that UK Ministers “did not want him to die in prison”.

Commenting, Mr Robertson said:

“The Prime Minister must make a clear statement setting out exactly where his government actually stands. Ed Balls’ comments contradict previous statements by the Foreign Secretary, and add to the confusion that has engulfed Downing Street .

“Ed Balls’ comments are totally at odds with Bill Rammell’s claim that neither Gordon Brown nor David Miliband wanted Megrahi to die in a Scottish jail – since confirmed by the Foreign Secretary.

“In rejecting the Prisoner Transfer application and granting compassionate release to send al-Megrahi back to Libya to die, Scotland’s Justice Secretary made the right decision for the right reasons - and one which is attracting widespread and growing support, as this weekend’s YouGov poll which puts the SNP 8 points ahead of Labour demonstrates.”

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